Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Shoal Harbour Methodist Cemetery is located approximately 5km off the Trans Canada Highway (Exit 230A) along Shoal Harbour Drive in a former farmer’s field known locally as Don Tilley's Field. It is surrounded by a wooded area and extends close to the embankment overlooking Random Sound. The site has been assigned Borden Number DbAI-02 as an identifier by the Provincial Archaeology Office. The remnants of a wire fence outline its boundaries. The municipal heritage designation includes that area of cemetery land currently bounded by the remnants of a wire fence plus a buffer of three metres, and that area as far south as the bank just southeast of the burials.
Shoal Harbour Methodist Cemetery has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Clarenville due to its historical, spiritual and aesthetic values.
The cemetery has spiritual and historic values as the oldest known cemetery in the Clarenville/Shoal Harbour area and the first cemetery of the community's Methodist population. The cemetery dates back to at least the latter part of the nineteenth-century. The cemetery is easily recognizable as being a sacred site and demonstrates the importance of spirituality in the lives of the early settlers who established it. The fragmented marble gravemarkers at the site bear both spiritual epitaphs and religious iconography. It is believed that the community’s original Methodist Church (consecrated in 1866 and burned to the ground in 1892) once stood at the front of the site, although this has not been established with certainty.
The cemetery has historical value due to its connection with the area's earliest, permanent residents, John Tilley (or Tilly) and his family. John Tilley (died 1871), who realized extraordinary accomplishment in both his business life and in his personal life, his wife Elizabeth (died circa 1868), and very likely other family members are also buried there. The Tilleys also built the first Methodist Church in Shoal Harbour. Thomas Godden (or Gadden), a veteran of the Battle of Trafalgar is also laid to rest at Shoal Harbour Methodist Cemetery. The hand-chiselled name “Thos Godden” on a locally made slate stone would have taken considerable effort and likely indicates that he was held in high regard. The marble headstones that once marked the grave sites of John and Elizabeth Tilley and others were likely imported and are indicative of the esteem in which they were held, as imported headstones would have been costly.
The site also has aesthetic value. It is easily recognizable as a burial site and imparts a sense of solitude and reverence. The site is located within a former farm field, close to an embankment overlooking Random Sound. The materials used to construct the currently visible headstones (three of local slate, two of marble, and one of local quartzite), as well as the fence that enclosed the area lends it a definite sense of a time long past. The beauty of the natural environment with moss beds, mature trees, unusual rock groupings and a spectacular view of Random Sound add to the sense of reverence and undisturbed quiet.
Source: Town of Clarenville Regular Council Meeting Motion 08-108 July 22, 2008.
All those elements which relate to the age, historic value, aesthetic value, and function of the site including:
-extant headstones and fragments in slate, quartzite and marble;
-hand-chiselling of extant headstones;
-inscriptions and iconography of extant headstones;
-any other gravemarkers, in-situ or off-site, associated with the site;
-fence remnants and trees used as fence posts, helping to define the perimeter of the site;
-natural elements including buffer trees, mosses, other flora, and rock groupings;
-sense of quiet solitude and reverence;
-and the unimpeded view of Random Sound.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
1866/01/01 to 1866/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
1 Springdale Street
St. John's, NL A1C 5V5
Cross-Reference to Collection